ADHRB Responds to High Commissioner Zeid’s Remarks on Bahrain

Mr. High Commissioner,

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain, with the support of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, thank you for raising your concerns regarding the continued arbitrary arrest, revocation of citizenship and deportation of political opposition, journalists and civil society members in Bahrain. We share your assessment that “profound reforms are still required” in the area of human rights in Bahrain.

These are not the first concerns you have raised on Bahrain as High Commissioner. Last year, you expressed your alarm at the reports of widespread and systematic torture and collective cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners at Bahrain’s Jau Prison. Your office has likewise raised past concerns over intimidation, restrictions or imprisonment, against Bahraini religious figures and human rights defenders, like Sheikh Husain Najati and Nabeel Rajab.

These concerns have been echoed by a substantial cross-regional coalition of States in five subsequent joint statements over the last four years. These states have called on Bahrain to cooperate with your office to address these concerns, and to establish a substantive program of technical cooperation based in the kingdom. Such programs should focus on ensuring accountability, amending restrictive laws, reforming Bahrain’s biased judiciary and repressive criminal justice system, and reforming Bahrain’s deeply flawed human rights institutions like the Ombudsman, the NIHR and the Special Investigations Unit to comply with international standards.

We therefore respectfully ask what tangible indications, if any, have you received from the Government of Bahrain that the government intends to substantively cooperate with your office to implement legal and institutional reforms to uphold international standards of human rights?

Thank you.